Where on the Shelf Is...Let It Be?
Up this week is...LET IT BE
What Is It?:
Every Beatles fan has their favorite Fab Four-centric movie. There's the groundbreaking, feature-length music video A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964). There's HELP! (1965), which pitted John, Paul, George, and Ringo against a cult. There's the trippy, Blue Meanie-infested YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968).
And then there's LET IT BE, the 1970 documentary remembered equally for its incredible, Oscar-winning soundtrack and capturing the beginning of the end of The Beatles. Aside from hosting such classics as "Across the Universe," "Don’t Let Me Down" and the titular track, it also clearly illustrates the deterioration of friendships and the band that many consider to be the greatest and most influential ever. (Those accolades, as far as this writer is concerned, go to Del Amitri.)
It also shows that Yoko Ono wasn't the sole reason The Beatles split, despite what many bitter hippies will have you believe.
Where Is It?:
LET IT BE's honest portrait of The Beatles in their decline is main reason the film is so good. It's also the root of the reason it has never been released on DVD or Blu-ray. The movie's fly-on-the-wall approach and lack of interviews allow for none of the subjects to play off the obvious turmoil between the bandmates.
With that, surviving talents McCartney and Starr (if you believe Paul to be alive and Ringo to be gifted) don't want LET IT BE to be anywhere. Former manager Neil Aspinall (who died in 2008) deemed the footage controversial and stated that it was "unlikely it will ever see the light of day in Paul and Ringo's lifetime."
So it's those two halting LET IT BE's release. More precisely, it's their inflated egos and misguided insistence that The Beatles forever be known as a gang of merry blokes who did nothing but smile and invite each other to their kids' birthday parties. What they don't seem to realize is that their badmouthing is widely documented and just another part of their history and charm.
(And since when has McCartney been so mindful of his reputation?)
When Will We See It?:
Despite Sir Paul and Court Jester Ringo's repeated attempts to sweep LET IT BE under the same rug currently hiding Pete Best, director Michael Lindsday-Hogg (who also did a couple dozen videos for The Rolling Stones) plans to give Beatlemaniacs exactly what they want:
"We have been...working on it pretty much every year for the last couple of years. And the plan is, at the moment, to have it come out, I think, in 2013."
So, if the director is to be believed, LET IT BE—which has always been a must-have for completists—will make its home video debut the same year as the 50th anniversary of the band's first #1 single.
Where Can We See It?:
As with most other hard-to-find titles, LET IT BE is readily available on YouTube—that is, if you don't mind turning your computer screen 90 degrees clockwise).
If you like what you see, feel free to send Ringo a bagful of fan mail. Peace and love.